Lost 400-year-old painting worth up to $5 million is found in a storage room

Lost 400-year-old painting worth up to $5million is found in a RESERVE ROOM – as experts track down its famous owner

  • 400-year-old painting worth up to $5million has been discovered in New South Wales
  • The 17th century oil depicts a lavish table typical of the Dutch Golden Age
  • It was found in a National Trust reserve in the Blue Mountains

A 400-year-old Dutch ‘one in a million’ painting worth up to $5million has been found on a property in the NSW Blue Mountains.

Called Still Life, the work was recently located at Woodford Academy, run by the National Trust of Australia, during a restoration project.

The 17th century oil depicts a lavish table typical of the Dutch Golden Age and is believed to have been painted by Gerrit Willemz Heda.

The 17th century oil depicts a lavish table typical of the Dutch Golden Age and is said to have been painted by Gerrit Willemz Heda

Some experts, however, are not convinced and believe it could be a collaboration with his famous father, the Dutch master Willem Claesz Heda, whose works are usually valued at millions of dollars.

“Finding an authentic 17th century painting in my National Trust reserve was beyond exciting, it took my breath away,” Collections Manager Rebecca Pinchin said on Sunday.

“This is a remarkable story of discovery, taking us on a multi-year journey, piecing together and validating work through expert guidance and technology.”

Ms Pinchin said finding the artist’s signature “felt like a one in a million chance”.

The National Trust says it is possible that Alfred Fairfax, nephew of James Fairfax, the founder of the Sydney Morning Herald, brought the painting to Woodford.

Alfred Fairfax was a successful businessman and bought the building in 1868.

At the time, art collecting was a popular pastime for the wealthy, and Dutch works by “old masters” were all the rage.

The discovery announcement comes as Australia and the Netherlands celebrate 80 years of full diplomatic relations and a bilateral relationship based on international law and trade.

“Australia and the Netherlands share enduring bonds of friendship and family,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.

He said the two countries also continue to seek truth, justice and accountability for the downing of MH17 and stand together in support of Ukraine.

The Still Life painting will be exhibited at Woodford Academy as part of the 2022 Australian Heritage Festival on May 14.

The Dutch Golden Age reflects a time in history from around 1588 to 1672 when Dutch trade, science and art, and the Dutch military were dominant in Europe.

About Catharine C. Bean

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